Everybody loves a good story and interesting characters are an essential component.
There are many popular story characters to which we all relate.
In the modern era, popular characters are robots, mutants, aliens, wizards,spies, monsters and superhero vigilantes rather more than the princes and princesses, kings and queens, fairies, giants, dragons and witches of the past.
The substance of our stories is the real world in which we live and the imaginary world in which we do not. They come from myths, legend and tales passed down through the generations over time and each time differently interpreted.
Characters are transferred from comic books into movies and computer games.
We are fond of giving a human voice and identity to something which is not human such as an animal, plant, weather condition, god or object.
Story characters can be the seasons of the year, the days of the week, the sun, moon and the stars. They can be all forms of life inside the forest, hurricanes, sailors, confidantes and cheats, saints and sinners.
From a teapot on the kitchen table to a vapour of cloud in the sky and from childhood association with a doll, a teddy bear or a pet, they are all the substance of a story character.
The superheroes of today such as Captain America, Iron Man, Deadpool, Spiderman and Batman not just provide us with escapism for the sake of entertainment in a different dimension but help us come to terms with right and wrong through social and political satire.
In Doctor Doolittle, the animals talk. So they also do in Animal Farm and in Jungle Book as well as Wind in the Willows and in all the stories of Beatrix Potter.
The Thomas the Tank train talks to his friends James, Henry, Percy and William. as if they were real people.
Super animation and the inspiration of Walt Disney has brought us Tom and Jerry, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Lion King, Nemo and the Good Dinosaur.
The medium of anthropomorphism (giving a voice to a non human form) helps us to emphathise with the story characters,
In the 2015 film ‘Inside Out’, an imaginary friend called Bing Bong and the five emotions of joy, sadness, fear, disgust and anger were all portrayed as story characters.
So we understand that stories have been told and acted out since the beginning of time.
In Pantomime, the story characters created by the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault in Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Puss in boots, Mother Goose, Wizard of Oz, Goldilocks and the Three Bears amongst many others are dramatically brought to life with slapdash comedy and satire.
Not a million moons ago, Bottom as a human with the head of a donkey in William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ set the tone for what was to follow.
A story does not need to be true so long it can be told and it can be a lot more evocative if it is told first hand through the eyes of the story character, whether human or not.
All we need is a story and a connection with the story characters.